Choosing your law firm’s optimal markets
I think many law firms historically acquired their clients first and their markets second. Somewhere early in a firm’s genesis, one of its lawyers landed a client and performed the assigned tasks well; impressed, that client hired the lawyer again and recommended the lawyer to a similar client, which also retained the lawyer, and more followed.
In a sense, the lawyer “backed into” a market by virtue of doing good work for one client that led to other opportunities in the same area. (Little wonder so many senior lawyers insist that “the only marketing I need is doing good work”—that’s exactly how they entered their markets in the first place.)
Since the traditional law firm was essentially a convenient vehicle for the preferences and interests of its most influential lawyers, those preferences and interests (what the lawyers were qualified to do, what type of work the lawyers wanted to engage in, where the lawyers could make the most money, and so forth) dictated the firm’s activities. The law firm was effectively “carried backwards” by its lawyers into its markets, and there the firm remains to this day.
In the new legal environment, that sequence will be reversed. Law firms will choose their markets first and their clients second, and their lawyers and other personnel will follow behind.